I don't know Chris Bosio, the now-former Tiger pitching coach, other than vaguely remembering him as a journeyman starter a couple of decades ago and the job he's done in the half-year or so he was on the job. Thus, I don't know his track record for saying "insensitive" things.
The Detroit media (if the Free Press was any guide) was willing to hang him out to dry for unspecified insensitive comments yesterday, with one remarking that our political leaders could use some mouth-washing along with Bosio.
Bosio's story was that the offending phrase was "spider monkey" spoken of lefty reliever Daniel Stumpf, who is of European descent. Stumpf was on a rehab assignment with Detroit's AAA Toledo club, so he wasn't there at the time. Stumpf's weight-lifting faces supposedly prompted the moniker per Bosio, which was news to Stumpf, who says the closest thing to a nickname he has going is Donald Stumpf after the potty-mouth-in-chief.
Making primate references to folks of African descent is a clear no-no, and has been for ages. As far back as 1983 Howard Cosell nearly got canned for calling an elusive black receiver a "little monkey" and only Cosell's being ahead of the times in his backing of Muhammad Ali and other counter-racist activities saved him from the PC guillotine.
However, the comment Hou-ward almost got canned for was towards a black player; a personality of lesser stature would have likely been shown the door. This is for a white player, if Bosio is being honest. Is that a firing offence these days, if a black junior staffer thought it was addressed at him?
We do have a tendency to give the offended person the benefit of the doubt in such these days, with little wiggle-room for a defense case. It's been too easy to let a "I was just joking" or "I didn't mean to hurt anyone" defense rule the day, especially if vulnerable underlings are bringing the accusation. The default take is to assume the speaker should have known better, but I think this stretches things a notch too far... given the information out there as I go to press.
Either there is far more to the story than Bosio lets on, or he has a very good case for a wrongful termination suit. Time will tell.